2013 Cultural Cultural

With his natural gift for music, Kent Nagano has earned an international reputation for the clarity, elegance and intelligence of his interpretations. As the head of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM), he has given the city a powerful cultural emblem, attracting thousands of classical music lovers from around the world.

A California native, Kent Nagano sounded the first notes of his career in Boston, working at the opera house and as assistant conductor to Seiji Ozawa at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He was a resounding success in North America, and Europe soon fell under the spell of his opera and symphony repertoire.

In 1988, Maestro Nagano left for Europe to assume the musical direction of the Opéra National de Lyon. He was also the music director of the Hallé Orchestra (1991-2000), principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (1990-1998) and artistic director and chief conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (2000-2006). At the end of his tenure in Berlin, he received the title of honorary conductor from members of the orchestra, a prestigious honour bestowed only twice in the orchestra’s 60-year history.

His love of music and the finesse of his concerts have garnered him invitations as guest conductor from the world’s most prestigious orchestras: the Vienna, Berlin and New York Philharmonics, the Chicago Symphony, the Dresden Staatskapelle and the Leipzig Gewandhaus, in addition to the renowned Opéra national de Paris, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Metropolitan Opera and Semperoper Dresden.

In 2006, Kent Nagano brought his tremendous cultural background and rich music to Montréal, to become the OSM’s music director. With his masterful interpretations, he has changed the face of classical music and attracted new fans that fill the halls for his concerts.

The September 2011 inauguration of the Maison symphonique de Montréal undoubtedly marks one of the high points of Mr. Nagano’s career in the city. For the first performance in this magnificent new hall, he chose to pay tribute to great moments in Quebec creation, showing his profound interest in local culture.

Since coming to Montréal, Kent Nagano has solidified the OSM’s reputation during national and international tours and dates. In the company of his musicians, he led the orchestra’s first coast-to-coast Canadian tour in 2007, the first joint international tour to Japan and South Korea in 2008 and the first European tour in over a decade in 2009.

Having conducted almost all of the world’s great orchestras, Kent Nagano has earned three Grammy awards during his impressive career: one for his recording of Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de loin with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, one for Busoni’s Doktor Faust recorded with the Opéra National de Lyon and one for Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf with the Russian National Orchestra.